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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The power of the people

White-line fever is setting in again! We and things have been moving so fast I will have to get back to you to catch you up on this campaign--the places we've been and the 17th District people we've been visiting with.

However, today I want to talk to you about something foremost on my mind.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ISABEL BLOOM!

And thank you to the power of the people.

If you hadn't heard--a company growing from the work of the late Quad City artist Isabel Bloom, which makes unique sculptures from concrete, had decided to move their operations to China, putting 50 Quad Citians out of work. It would also have taken the heart of Isabel Bloom--the artisanship--to China too.

The outcry was immediate and loud on several levels.

Jobs. Art. A unique part of Quad City culture. However you looked at it, the people didn't like it.

They went to Isabel Bloom's showroom to buy up locally-created sculptures, and on their way out the door they told the clerks that they would never buy Isabel Bloom again, because it wouldn't be the same. Different materials. Designs from halfway around the world. How could someone in China capture the spirit of a sculpture of a squatty washerwoman--conceivably from any period in our history, but UNDENIABLY AMERICAN.

The owners stated their case to their employees and to the public. And then they did a remarkable thing. They listened, and they conferred, and they came forth with a brave and honorable announcement: "We made a grave mistake. We're staying."

Two sidebar thoughts: these three gentlemen are local. They live right here in the 17th District. That certainly helps, because they realize how integral a part of Quad City life the name and product of Isabel Bloom is.

I remember, as I'm sure you do, when the people who owned TV stations, and factories, and banks, all LIVED in the community they served. It made a difference.

And secondly, one of the oft-expressed opinions during the time we thought we were losing Isabel Bloom was this: "It's art. I am willing to pay more for art." As we consumers search for the very cheapest of anything--how many American jobs are we taking in the bargain?

The power of the people made a difference in the story of Isabel Bloom.

I'm asking you to make a difference by supporting me in this primary.

You can make a difference by speaking out. AND THAT'S WHY I'VE BEEN SPEAKING OUT FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS. I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE--FOR US AND FOR OUR CHILDREN.

May God bless you today. See you down the Campaign Trail!

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